The Tech Press is Sad So Everything is Terrible

The Tech Press is Sad So Everything is Terrible

[lead dropcap="yes"]The tech pundits are sad and it shows in their reporting.[/lead]

It’s fairly evident that most tech pundits writing for the big blogs and publications and making podcasts and videos lean left in their politics. Most of them are based either in the Northeast or on the West Coast where the liberal bubble is the strongest. If you have read The Verge or Engadget over the past couple of months, for instance, their disdain for Donald Trump and Republicans have been quite clear. (Heck, even non-tech blogs, like Food52 and TheKitchn food blogs, have engaged in the misery-making.)

And so, ever since the election on November 8, much of the tech press has sounded like a bunch of emo teens whose future prospects include unemployment, student loans, and their parents’ basement. Everything sucks.

The new Apple MacBook Pros suck. Amazon’s Echo sucks. New videos games aren’t very good. Smartwatches are done. There are no more good gadgets being developed. Fitbit buying Pebble is the end of the scrappy Kickstarter success stories. Samsung’s phones are exploding (okay, that one is true.) It’s an unrelieved pottage of doom and gloom.

Plus, these supposedly tech-focused publications seem to veer off into pure politics an awful lot, editorializing on US national politics that have nothing to do with tech, perhaps in an attempt to make themselves feel better.

This is connected to the now-tired meme that 2016 is the worst year ever because, I guess, Donald Trump is president instead of Hilary (and less often now, Bernie Sanders) and because a bunch of famous people died. Not that famous people didn’t die in other years, but these are famous people important to Generation X and we have now replaced Baby Boomers as the most self-important generation.

Sometimes I want to just shake them all and tell them to snap out of it. I’ve already taken a break from several podcasts, like MacBreak Weekly, which has descended into a purgatory of “Apple is doomed” rhetoric, where all of the hosts spend their time taking about which non-Apple gear they’re switching to. Instead, I’m spending my time on podcasts like Mac Geek Gab and Mac Power Users, where I can actually learn something about how to use my gear to be more productive and make my life better.

I get being disappointed after an election, but a whole industry going into a funk over it? That’s a bad sign of an industry that may be a little too monolithic in its composition.

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  • I’ve long noticed just how much tech reporting leans left. So much so that it is hard to think of examples that don’t. At most you might have libertarian leaning.

    This year was the most egregious example considering covering of Hillary emails. Such a natural tech subject – and it was all pretty much Democrat apologetics. I remember the coverage Jeb Bush got when he was surprised to receive a call on his Apple Watch. Pretty funny and fair game. But Hillary emails where she asked how to charge an iPad or failed to understand so many mundane tech tasks got zero coverage. There was so much on this topic applicable to the tech press and they looked away.

    I remember some years ago on TWIT it took Jerry Pournelle being on the show that Climategate was even referenced. Then quickly dismissed by the others. Another natural tech topic since it involved hacks and a reveal of computer code purposely created to inflate number hardcoded without data input.

    Now I don’t mind at all hearing others political interpretations, but when it becomes monolithic that is another story. Especially when it is so dismissive of other views. Pretty much when I listen to a podcast or read tech reporting I can do without the political coverage. Although I don’t mind when their political views are confined to places like Twitter.

    As for doom and gloom tech reporting, your right. It has gotten worse and worse. Maybe their is some correlation with the special snowflake where people are upset about everything. That they must get their way in everything. But it is not just generational. For example for years I have become more and more annoyed with Leo Laporte. Almost all the shows he is on now would be better without him. You cite MacBreak Weekly, which I still watch, and finds he contributes nothing positive anymore. I watch mostly for people like Rene Ritchie or Adam Christianson. Still there is still great Mac software being written which they barely cover.

    One thing regarding Apple coverage is that I find it much like coverage regarding the Church. Factually wrong and on the attack. The difference is that this negative coverage from non-Apple fans is sounding just like the coverage from Apple fans. The obsession over the new MacBook Pro and concentrating on things like the total amount of RAM is like the tech press of old with specifications being the only thing that mattered. With a super fast SSD which the MBP now has make paging and amount of memory less important? I have read some articles from pro users that imply that it does. I would like to hear more about real world testing compared to specification wars.

    This does not mean that I don’t want critical coverage, just informed critical coverage. Which I guess is why I really like iMore’s coverage and the podcasts. There are certainly good questions regarding what Apple is doing with the MacPro and Mac mini. Something does seem to have slip just beyond Intel problems. I can listen all day to John Siracusa “hypercritical” critiques because they are informed and acknowledge limits in knowledge.

    • You make a good point on the lack of criticism of Hillary’s tech backwardness. Whenever it’s a Republican who seems like a tech dinosaur, whether it’s true or not, they jump all over him. Like George H.W. Bush on the supermarket scanner (which it turns out wasn’t him being ignorant of scanners, but of a particular kind of scanner they were showing him). But Hillary’s very obvious lack of tech knowledge (she had to have someone setup her DVR to record her shows, for example) and there’s crickets.

      Regarding MacBreak Weekly, it’s gotten so bad that you have Leo, Andy, and Alex all talking about how they’re buying Microsoft Surfaces and Android phones and watches and how bad Apple stuff is. Hey, if they want to switch, I have no problem. Use what you want. But this is supposed to be a Mac show; if the hosts don’t use Apple gear then get rid of them and find ones who do. I like Andy, but he’s become more and more Android focused and that’s not why I watch MBW. For a while, I was only watching for the picks, but even those have become uninteresting. Lawsuits, politics, and Android all the time!

      But of course, my main point was not that they have political biases (of course they do), but that much of the tech coverage of everything these days is so negative. The attacks on the MacBook Pro are a case in point. Sure, I’m a little chagrined that it only have USB-C ports, but this stuff about not being able to use 32GB of RAM is crazy. How many people need that much RAM in a laptop? And there’s never been a Mac laptop that has that much RAM so it’s not like they’re losing something. And you know how many Windows 10 laptops have 32GB of RAM? Not many. Yet, people are obsessed over it. Meanwhile, people are using it in real life and reporting that it’s so fast and they never run out of RAM. Like you say, criticism of its real shortcomings–and there are some–isn’t bad, but it’s the relentless drumbeat of pessimism and negativity.